Assisted death

Has this topic been done already?

Can there be a more apt topic for 'hell' than the hell of lawful, aided/ assisted death? The abolition of capital punishment in civilised countries has been followed not far behind by this chilling, dark anti-human movement. The thinking is that some suffering souls deserve to die and indeed ought to die asap. It really is extremely distressing and sad making to hear people say this. The presence of this delusive attitude probably shows up where traces of the faith have declined/ disappeared most. I have said enough.
«1

Comments

  • I'd like to invite you to die of esophageal cancer then. My late ex was screaming in pain as he died, no matter how much morphine they gave him. They had to put him into a palliative coma. If I'm ever diagnosed with a number of cancers (esophageal, pancreatic, brain, liver), an assisted death will be my priority.
  • This is hellish? To help bring peace and relief from unbearable pain to someone who is dying, and has asked to be helped along the way, is surely saintly, and mostly because it is so difficult.
  • edited January 9
    This topic has been discussed here. I haven't found ther link to it.

    Palliative sedation is part of palliative care. Just because it isn't properly used in many places doesn't mean that things default to active euthanasia. Which is called MAID in many places in Canada: medical assistance in dying.

    Before it was explicitly legalised in Canada, many had the experiences we did of narcotic sedation and drugs to maintain the integrity of airways. My elderly loved ones did not die on a scheduled basis. Do what you want, but it's not an option to actively end any life for me.

    Stories of bad pain relief and suffering are not reasons to do MAID. Bad pain relief and suffering are to be properly medically handled. Sorry that the care was so poor for others: which are the things put forth every time this topic comes up in real life. There isn't a need to actively end another person's life. There is a need for proper palliative care including the standard palliative sedation.

    We're aware of personnel offering death as a treatment. "Just discussing the options" Which gives some pause or terror to remain in that hospital as family and the ill wait for natural death: can we have confidence that the staff will relieve pain and not be as careful and attentive? Will they nudge toward active ending of life?
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    @PhilipV, have you ever had a close friend or relative who's died, slowly and painfully, of cancer or a similar disease? I'm guessing not.

    I have Stage IV breast cancer; it has metastasized into my bones (putting me into a wheelchair), brain, liver, and lungs. My latest treatment has just failed. We will start what is currently my final option next week.

    I hurt, a lot; my liver whines at me about the pain constantly. I'm still working part-time, but the time is coming soon when that won't be possible. I'm preparing for my death (today I pre-paid for my cremation and urn), but there's still a lot to get through.

    I'm not afraid of death, but I am afraid of the process of dying. I have held several much-loved cats as they received the shots that first calmed them and then let them go. It's always hard, but it's always a relief as well: their suffering is at an end. Why shouldn't I be allowed to choose my time to exit as well?

    I am a committed Christian. Who are you to tell me that I have to suffer?

  • Pangolin GuerrePangolin Guerre Shipmate
    edited January 9
    I was going to post my first hand observations, but I think that Rossweise has said all that need be said.
  • ((Rossweisse))

  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    (((Rossweisse)))

    Many people are ‘assisted’ to die when in the end stages. The giving of palliative doses of morphine to combat the pain is, quite rightly in my view, a normal procedure.

    My Mum died this way with us at her bedside, a peaceful and gentle death.

  • Rossweisse - you always speak with such courage.... I also agree 100% with what you said about your cats. My experiences have been the same. Why should I begrudge my human friends the choice of that final kindness that I give to my animals.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    The OPer seems confused. It's capital punishment which by definition decides some people deserve to die.

    Assisted Dying is about people who *want* to die.
  • I am torn over this. While I agree with Ross, if assisted dying is legal how do you protect the vulnerable? Someone whose family put pressure on them to die, before they spend all their money on care?
  • I am torn over this. While I agree with Ross, if assisted dying is legal how do you protect the vulnerable? Someone whose family put pressure on them to die, before they spend all their money on care?

    This is my concern. Making sure any such decision really is free, and not coerced in any way, at which point it becomes murder.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    I am torn over this. While I agree with Ross, if assisted dying is legal how do you protect the vulnerable? Someone whose family put pressure on them to die, before they spend all their money on care?

    This is my concern. Making sure any such decision really is free, and not coerced in any way, at which point it becomes murder.

    Different if the person is already in the end stages of dying. It’s going to happen soon anyway, so making it peaceful and gentle if at all possible is right imo - and already happens.

  • I'm going to suggest this is transferred to Epiphanies, which is where I think it belongs.

    DT
    HH
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Frank Brennan SJ says that there are times when proper palliative care is keeping a patient's lips moist but withholding food and water.
  • TheOrganistTheOrganist Shipmate
    edited January 9
    @PhilipV Where to start?

    First off, abolition of capital punishment has not been followed, either sooner or later, by the legalisation of assisted dying in many countries. Furthermore, those countries that do allow for assisted dying have very strict criteria for its application.

    Second, the description of a "chilling, dark anti-human movement" could only be made by a person falling into one of two camps: someone who has not witnessed first hand a death where pain relief just can't be done or managed; or someone with no empathy, who just doesn't give a damn how people reach the end of their life. Which is it, @PhilipV ? Sociopath or Sadist ?

    The thinking is not that some suffering souls "deserve to die", rather it is that those who are destined to die, have no option of cure, and for whom pain relief is unlikely to be successful have choice. No one, absolutely no one, is saying anyone "ought" to die - except perhaps in those uncivilised nations that still have and carry out capital punishment, such as the USA, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, etc.

    You say it is "extremely distressing and sad making (sic) to hear people say this: say what? Assuming you meant to give your sentence a subject and that it was death and its promotion, I'd say the only people who seem to be promoting death are people who stand by capital punishment, who watch complacent as their state/ government cold-bloodedly plans and carries out "judicial" killing.
    The presence of this delusive attitude probably shows up where traces of the faith have declined/ disappeared most.
    Not true, in fact frequently the reverse. Those states that execute the most people generally fall into three camps:

    1. Countries of profound (sometimes "official) faith -
    Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia (Islam)
    sometimes not acknowledged and/or multi-faith -
    Ethiopia, India, Nigeria. Sri Lanka, United States

    2. Countries with no "official" faith -
    Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam

    3. Totalitarian regimes, either stated as such or de facto
    China, Belarus

    These lists are not definitive and of course there are some states that, while officially having no death penalty, are known to use extra-judicial killing.

    I think most people would agree that you can tell a lot about the true regard for the sanctity of life by whether or not a state is willing kill its own citizens.

    You, of course, will say that you were not referring to "lawful" executions but to something else entirely. However, as has been pointed out above, there is a very grey area in many cases of terminal illness where the application of adequate effective pain relief is often the immediate cause of death due to the suppression of breathing caused by opiates in high doses - so does that make it a murder? I'd suggest that if it was your wife or granny being able to leave this life in comfort rather than writhing in agony, you'd accept that it was proper use of medication.
  • Boogie wrote: »
    (((Rossweisse)))

    Many people are ‘assisted’ to die when in the end stages. The giving of palliative doses of morphine to combat the pain is, quite rightly in my view, a normal procedure.

    My Mum died this way with us at her bedside, a peaceful and gentle death.

    So did mine. I watched them 'up' the morphine, knowing what was happening. Does that make me a murderer, or an accessory to murder?


  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited January 9
    Boogie wrote: »
    (((Rossweisse)))

    Many people are ‘assisted’ to die when in the end stages. The giving of palliative doses of morphine to combat the pain is, quite rightly in my view, a normal procedure.

    My Mum died this way with us at her bedside, a peaceful and gentle death.

    So did mine. I watched them 'up' the morphine, knowing what was happening. Does that make me a murderer, or an accessory to murder?


    No, it makes you a loving son and me a loving daughter. I know it was a rhetorical question. But why anyone would question the motives of either the doctors or the families when the loved one is in the end stages of dying, I do not know.

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Where the intention of the treatment or medication is to alleviate suffering, notwithstanding the fact that as a known but unintended consequence it may hasten death, the intention removes legal liability for the death.

    There’s a helpful article in The Nursing Times
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    I'm going to suggest this is transferred to Epiphanies, which is where I think it belongs.

    DT
    HH
    Which I have now done.

    A reminder to all that although this thread started in Hell it is no longer there. Please bear this in mind when addressing @PhilipV.

    Alan
    Ship of Fools Admin
  • Thank you, Alan.

    I think I see what @PhilipV is perhaps getting at, and the thought of going down the road which once led to the Holocaust is indeed frightening, but that's a long way from the concept of assisted dying.

    Agreed, it's an emotive subject, for those of us who have been, or are, involved in it in some way or other.

    As a former healthcare professional, I know that assisted dying is now quite common, but can't provide any evidence or statistics as to how common.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I’m sure that as long as the drugs have existed there have been practitioners who’ve administered pain relief dosages in the full knowledge that they are likely to hasten death or even bring about death. I suspect the number who have done so with the primary intention of causing death is much smaller.
  • I am torn over this. While I agree with Ross, if assisted dying is legal how do you protect the vulnerable? Someone whose family put pressure on them to die, before they spend all their money on care?

    In my case (having no family, and really needing to set up Powers of Attorney), I'm the one who fears that all of my money will be spent on keeping me breathing. Frankly, when I get to that point I'd rather die comfortably and have my money go to other organizations than my local hospital or nursing home. (While I don't have Powers of Attorney set up -- the ones I have are defunct -- I do have a DNR.)

  • Everyone always assumes they will be of the sound mind and able to make all of decisions in sensible, non-influenced ways. But dying and ill people are often not all with it, and they worry about being a burden, and that may in fact ask to die or wonder about death. People think of death a lot sometimes, when at extremity, they may feel suicidal and want an exit. Do we suggest that we assist?

    This is what I support: https://www.cfp.ca/content/60/9/813 "continuous palliative sedation", not the active ending of life (not saying I agree with everything in this College of Family Physicians of Canada link). Perhaps there is no difference between this and administering a lethal drug dosage for some?
  • To add to the mix: "Do I rack up millions of dollars in medical bills that will financially cripple my family, or do I ask to be killed?"
  • O brave new world, that hath such questions in it....
    :grimace:
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited January 9
    Boogie wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    I am torn over this. While I agree with Ross, if assisted dying is legal how do you protect the vulnerable? Someone whose family put pressure on them to die, before they spend all their money on care?

    This is my concern. Making sure any such decision really is free, and not coerced in any way, at which point it becomes murder.

    Different if the person is already in the end stages of dying. It’s going to happen soon anyway, so making it peaceful and gentle if at all possible is right imo - and already happens.

    I understand. This can be abused also, though. I am not philosophically opposed to the idea, but urge cautious caution in the execution (excuse the pun).
    Boogie wrote: »
    My Mum died this way with us at her bedside, a peaceful and gentle death.
    So did mine. I watched them 'up' the morphine, knowing what was happening. Does that make me a murderer, or an accessory to murder?

    Absolutely not.
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    There is an awkward disparity between theory and reality. In theory, theory and reality are very similar. In reality, they are not.

    In theory, I am strongly in favour of the death penalty. In reality, I do not trust any society to have the power to put people to death.

    In theory, I think it is perfectly reasonable for there to be mechanisms to assist people who want to end their own suffering. In reality, those mechanisms would be vulnerable to human capriciousness.

    In theory, I am a law-abiding citizen resident alien. In reality, things are only illegal if you get caught.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    My Much Better Half, D., died in September, nine days after being diagnosed with, and unsuccessfully treated for, cancer. After his second surgery, he suffered two strokes, one of which was in his brain-stem, and the doctors informed me that there was no response to stimuli, and no hope of recovery.

    They told me my best option was to give my consent to turning off the ventilator that was keeping him alive. I was horrified at the idea of ending his life, but they assured me that I wasn't "killing" him - I was merely saving him from a sort of non-life. As he never came round from the second surgery, we had no opportunity for him to formally record his wishes, but he would have hated being a dependent invalid (even if he'd been aware of it, which he wasn't).

    It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, but I hope I did the right thing.
  • Piglet wrote: »
    My Much Better Half, D., died in September, nine days after being diagnosed with, and unsuccessfully treated for, cancer. After his second surgery, he suffered two strokes, one of which was in his brain-stem, and the doctors informed me that there was no response to stimuli, and no hope of recovery.

    They told me my best option was to give my consent to turning off the ventilator that was keeping him alive. I was horrified at the idea of ending his life, but they assured me that I wasn't "killing" him - I was merely saving him from a sort of non-life. As he never came round from the second surgery, we had no opportunity for him to formally record his wishes, but he would have hated being a dependent invalid (even if he'd been aware of it, which he wasn't).

    It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, but I hope I did the right thing.

    I believe you did. My mom had to make the same decision about my grandfather, and is still second-guessing herself, no matter how much we assure her it was the right decision. I pray you find peace. From what you say, I truly believe you did the right thing.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Piglet, I'm sure that the decision you made was the one that I'd make in similar circumstances (and hope that Madame would for me). Sometimes, proper palliative care is to take such difficult steps.
  • Seconded. At that point, Piglet, no one was better placed than you to know what D would have felt, had he been able to express those feelings himself; and you did a brave thing in making the decision.
  • IMHO there's a huge difference between actively causing death and simply allowing someone to complete the dying process they've already begun by removing extraordinary measures never intended for permanent use. You would save the person if you could, you would revoke the dying process; but that is not an option you've been given. All you get to choose is whether to continue prolonging and interfering with the natural irrevocabke process, or not. I've let my family know what I'm okay with--and also told them that even if they choose to totally bollix up all my carefully planned choices, not to fret at all about it. I'd hate to imagine them fretting when I'm in paradise with the Lord and don't care at all, and I know any mistake or even total fiasco would be driven by the best of intentions anyway.

    Now the music at my funeral--that could be a matter worth haunting someone over! :wink:
  • Piglet wrote: »
    My Much Better Half, D., died in September, nine days after being diagnosed with, and unsuccessfully treated for, cancer. After his second surgery, he suffered two strokes, one of which was in his brain-stem, and the doctors informed me that there was no response to stimuli, and no hope of recovery.

    They told me my best option was to give my consent to turning off the ventilator that was keeping him alive. I was horrified at the idea of ending his life, but they assured me that I wasn't "killing" him - I was merely saving him from a sort of non-life. As he never came round from the second surgery, we had no opportunity for him to formally record his wishes, but he would have hated being a dependent invalid (even if he'd been aware of it, which he wasn't).

    It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, but I hope I did the right thing.

    Did this with 2 beloved parents, 2 best friends, and as friend to 2 friends who've lost spouses. It's allowing God via nature to handle things. Affirming that we're not ourselves in control and that we're in the hands of others and God as may be and may be present working through us humans.

    Probably not saying this very well, but I've learned much about how life and death are the same. States of being. And we love through both. Which is how it is supposed to be. I pretty much cry inside every day about it briefly and then try to help other people. Which is about as Jesusly as I can manage.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    Piglet, I believe that you made the best call.

    I don't live in a state (or a country, aside from a few states) that permits assisted dying, and I would not want to put anyone at risk by asking them to help me along. All I can do is make my wishes known, and pray that God takes me sooner rather than later on that path. I recognize the Slippery Slope aspect, and elderly family members being pressured to choose death and get out of the way was my first thought when I read about assisted dying. But being of sound mind, I would like to be allowed to make my own choices.

    (Have we scared off @PhilipV? That was not my intention. And I would like to know if he named himself for the French or the Spanish one.)

  • @Piglet lots of hugs. For what it's worth, I think you did the right thing, the loving thing, and were brave to do so.
  • @Piglet You knew D better than anyone else and loved him more than anyone else: to act as you did in those circumstances was an act of love only you could make for him and you were brave enough to carry it through.
  • What everyone has said re @Piglet.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Thanks, everyone - now my eyes are leaking again ...

    I think Lamb Chopped hit it on the head with:
    ... All you get to choose is whether to continue prolonging and interfering with the natural irrevocable process, or not.

    That was the case with D - there was going to be no recovery, and prolonging his existence (for that was all it would be - you couldn't really call it "life") would have done nobody any good.
  • Nope. (((((Piglet)))))

    Let the eyes leak. It's the way the pain gets out. And eventually makes room for better things.
  • Nope. (((((Piglet)))))

    Let the eyes leak. It's the way the pain gets out. And eventually makes room for better things.
    Indeed! I’m reminded of some of my favorite words of wisdom from Anne Lamott:
    Death; wow. So f-ing hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die. . . .
    All truth is a paradox. Grief, friends, time and tears will heal you. Tears will bathe and baptize and hydrate you and the ground on which you walk. The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know.
    {{{Piglet and all who mourn}}}

  • This is such a hard and emotional topic. I'm glad it was moved here.

    I'm against Assisted Dying legislation of the type we have here in Victoria, and just generally to be honest. I think people who are involved in killing another should be prepared to have their actions investigated and to be exposed to the risk of a murder/manslaughter/whatever charge. I think LC is right to distinguish between killing someone and a withdrawal of treatment. I think its also right to distinguish between killing someone and administering pain relief.

    I am particularly concerned about people who are elderly being subjected to another form of elder abuse, having their will overborne by unscrupulous and wicked children, and the position of those with profound disabilities.

    I have been in tremendous emotional turmoil in the past. I know what it feels like to look at one's life and conclude that there is no hope. I have wanted to kill myself, but had no means to hand. I couldn't work out how to do it so it would be quick and not hurt others too (No suggestions please). But now, I feel different. Now, I feel like I'm able to handle stuff. Now, I see the darker possibilities as a different experience. I explicitly do not use this as a way to criticise others, or suggest 'cures' to their own situation. Its just that I have come from a place where living seemed pointless and painful, and am now in a place that it is not. Indeed, it is a place where joy is a reality.

    I can't square that with a lawful right to assist someone to kill themselves,and yes, lawful is the key for me. The implicit permission is the key. I don't judge people who want to die, or people who feel compelled to assist. How can I? I'm not God. I don't feel the pain they do, neither of them. But don't put the idea into someone's head that you can kill your sick wife. People don't hear detail.
  • What a wonderful, yet also appalling thread. I can't help feeling that PhilipV must be terribly disappointed with your humane and considered replies and testimonies but one hopes he has read them and perhaps learned something.
  • caroline444caroline444 Shipmate
    edited January 11
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    I am particularly concerned about people who are elderly being subjected to another form of elder abuse, having their will overborne by unscrupulous and wicked children, and the position of those with profound disabilities.

    I think the concern about elder abuse seems quite a common concern. One way round it would be to make it law that no-one could ask for assisted suicide unless they had made a living will requesting this option be available - and the living will had to be written and lodged with a doctor before the age of 50..... before you were elderly and perhaps vulnerable.

    Re people with profound disabilities. As long as they were not mentally disabled I feel they should have as much right as any other person to make up their minds about whether or not to choose assisted suicide. If they had learning difficulties or psychiatric problems then I think things are far more complex, and would need to be carefully researched & weighed up before permission was given.
  • I agree - but don't stipulate an upper age limit such as 50.
  • NicoleMRNicoleMR Shipmate
    50 is young enough that people aren't thinking about stuff like that yet. Maybe 65?
  • No, I meant that sometimes people who are younger than 50 may need a living will. Sorry if that was unclear.

    BTW, @Colin Smith - just out of interest, and not wishing to be snarky, what is it that appals you about this thread?
  • No, I meant that sometimes people who are younger than 50 may need a living will. Sorry if that was unclear.

    BTW, @Colin Smith - just out of interest, and not wishing to be snarky, what is it that appals you about this thread?

    Not the thread, per se. But a couple of the stories people have related concerning their own situation and that of loved ones have been appalling.
  • That is heroically opaque.
  • caroline444caroline444 Shipmate
    edited January 11
    No, I meant that sometimes people who are younger than 50 may need a living will. Sorry if that was unclear.

    I think you could do the living will with respect to assisted suicide at any time - up to the age where you might be "elderly and vulnerable" and thus manipulated into doing one. People who requested assisted suicide before 50 or 65, wouldn't need a living will, as they would not be considered vulnerable.

    NicoleMR wrote: »
    50 is young enough that people aren't thinking about stuff like that yet. Maybe 65?

    I think 65 would be fine too. I also think that if the possibility of assisted suicide became part of your culture, and you knew there was a cut off point for signing up to it, people would think about it.

Sign In or Register to comment.